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In the Veg Boxes This Week
Subject to last minute changes
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The Nice Bit
We’ve got two topics this week which aren’t that easy to combine.
First of all, it’s back-to-school season. I don’t have kids, but I was a kid, and I was also a nerd so to me the phrase conjures the smell of sharpened pencils, the satisfaction of compass and protractor, spending too long choosing a pencil case and the hope, insistent and earnest, that I would transform that very year into the perfect student who did their homework and had good handwriting. And the extension of this tidy optimism: high-effort lunch boxes. By Christmas we would be back to my beloved marmite sandwiches, but for a few weeks I had the works: crudites, dips, fruit salad, wraps cut into perfect pinwheels, little notes from my mum (in her much better handwriting). I think both the high-effort lunch boxes and the easier, faster, stress-friendly ones are pretty great, but I’d also like to think a little bit about how to pack a lunch– for a kid or a grown-up — that uses lots of seasonal veg, and is therefore sustainable (environmentally) and maybe could be sustainable (work-wise).
I also want to tell you about the herbs we’re growing on the farm and invite you to add some parsley, chives, dill, summer savoury, oregano and/or thyme to your delivery next week. They are delicious, fresh, and can add so much flavour to your meals.
So, a compromise is called for, I think: some herb-focused lunch box ideas that might embody all the freshness of the new school year, but without all the work.
- If you have leftover boiled, fried, or roast potatoes, make a tortilla with herbs, wilted greens, peas, cheese, or whatever else you have in the fridge. This recipe has focused in on the second-best quality of a tortilla, which is the versatility. The very best quality? That’s how good it tastes.
- Alternatively, turn those leftover potatoes into a potato salad, with a creamy dressing and loads of dill.
- Tabbouleh, when made right, is mostly parsley. Accompanied with bulgar wheat (or, inauthentic but easy and tasty, couscous), cucumber, tomatoes, mint, and lemon juice, you’ll find it addictive. Make a big batch for dinner to have with roast chicken, halloumi (or the buffaloumi we have to add on this week), or as part of a mezze-ish spread. The leftovers make a great lunch, or lunches.
- A herby lentil salad couldn’t be quicker: combine one tin of brown lentils (Locavore-own, naturally), parsley and/or any other herbs you want or have to hand, a finely-chopped red onion, and dress with lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste with plenty of salt and pepper and pop in a tupperware, with a bit of baguette on the side to scoop it up with. The lentils get tastier as they marinade, and the onions get milder, so this is actually better made the night before.
- Add lots of herbs to cheesy savoury muffins– I know, I’m mentioning baking when it’s meant to be easy and quick ideas, but to make muffins you really do just mix all the ingredients together and stick them in the oven, and they can use up all sorts of leftovers.
- Got frozen peas and half a jar of tahini? Great- make this gorgeous, parsley-specked dip to serve with pita or flatbreads.